Wiring my house for recording sound?
August 11, 2017 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Is there a reasonably inexpensive, reasonably not-crazymaking way to wire a few rooms of my house to record (preferably automatically) sound using my Mac and iPads? My very young children's speaking skills are advancing rapidly, and as a result they are quickly losing their idiosyncratic pronunciations, diction, and use of invented or malapropisms. They are skittish, as wild animals often are, and I would like to record without being present. I don't anticipate doing this for long, so if it's really expensive I don't think I can do it.
posted by OmieWise to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Can you just leave a voice memo recorder app running on your iPad, and leave it in the room with them? I don't think you need to complicate this with mics or anything.
posted by Jairus at 10:44 AM on August 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Tascam's DR-05 self-contained digital recorders can be had fairly inexpensively and can do automatic sound-activated recording with very good quality. Could you leave a few of those lying around?
posted by flabdablet at 10:49 AM on August 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Good suggestions! I've done some of the iPad leaving, and it's ok. The biggie is when the twins go upstairs on their own, which has just started happening really in the past month. Their whole valence changes when someone else comes up, even if they don't interact. We've got a relatively tight house.

Keep 'em coming.
posted by OmieWise at 1:23 PM on August 11, 2017

If their behavior changes when they know they're being recorded, you could conceal a sound-activated recording device (they range from cheapo to moderately expensive) under a piece of furniture (a couch, bed, etc). in the area where they are most talkative.
posted by deliciouspancakes at 2:03 PM on August 11, 2017

Our baby monitor base station had a microphone/line out.
It would be a relatively simple task to plug it into an iPad or other recording device.

We had 2 monitors but could go up to 4, I think, to cover multiple rooms.
The sound quality wasn't great, but it was good enough.

Bonus, if you already had one in their room, they might not even notice it anymore and thus would act "natural" around it.
posted by madajb at 3:29 PM on August 11, 2017

There's a few $30 tiny "spy" audio recorders on Amazon that run for ~16 hours between charges, you could hide those around the house. Some are voice-activated.

But heck, they're your kids, attach the darn things to their clothing or body. Doubt they'll care as long as you don't make a big deal about it. They'll appreciate the fine audio quality later in life.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:34 PM on August 11, 2017

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